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UK shoppers shun cheaper clothes for longer-lasting items

By Huw Hughes


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UK consumers are shifting their attention away from fast fashion, and towards longer-lasting items, according to a new report by the Fashion Retail Academy.

The report revealed that consumers are now 13 percent more likely to choose more expensive, longer-lasting clothes over cheaper items with a shorter lifespan, with 34 percent opting for better quality items. A smaller 26 percent said they will buy cheaper clothes that are unlikely to last until next season.

Over a quarter (25.4 percent) said they are wearing their everyday items - like jeans and t-shirts - for at least two years before buying new ones, while 24 percent continue to wear items of clothing for over 10 years. The average consumer now wears their jeans and t-shirts for almost a year and a half (17 months), and the average consumer owns items of clothing that are over 7 years old.

Men are less interested in fast fashion than women, according to the report, and are 7 percent less likely to buy cheap clothing, while 23-26 year olds are 5 percent more likely to buy expensive longer-lasting clothes than 31-35 year olds.

Shoppers living in Edinburgh are the most likely to opt for longer-lasting garments (52 percent), while at the other end of the scale, shoppers from Belfast are least likely to invest in more expensive high quality clothing (23 percent), the survey found.

UK consumers shift buying habits towards longer-lasting clothing

The news comes amid mounting concern in the UK, and globally, about the harmful affect the fast fashion industry has on the environment. According to a report released by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) on Tuesday, the UK buys more clothes per person than any other European country, with the average consumer purchasing 26.7kg of fashion items per year, compared with 16.7kg in Germany, 14.5kg in Italy and 12.6kg in Sweden.

The EAC's report also said that less than one percent of material used to produce clothing in the UK is recycled into new clothing, despite around 300,000 tonnes of textile waste being thrown away each year.

“After years of shopping for trendy and - invariably - cheaper fast fashion, could consumers finally be making the move towards longer-lasting and timeless items?” Lee Lucas, principal of the Fashion Retail Academy, said in a statement.

“This shift towards quality over quantity is surely a reflection of how customers are increasingly mindful of sustainability and the supply chain of clothes manufacturing - as well as acknowledging that more expensive price tags might mean more mileage from certain items of clothing.

“There are still many people browsing the aisles or scrolling the internet for the latest trends and picking up seasonal items with a smaller price tag, but there are also new waves of consumers who are willing to invest in higher quality items, which may save them money in the long run.

“Sustainable clothing brands such as Patagonia, which offer a lifetime guarantee on their clothes have become more and more popular over the years. This trend has filtered down and typically sustainable clothing is becoming more readily available at high street prices.”

The Fashion Retail Academy’s report was carried out by Onepoll with a sample of 2,000 respondents aged 18-35, from 20 September 2018 to 8 October 2018.

Photo credit: Rawpixel.com, Pexels

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